Sophia D. Gagen, avid golfer

July 25, 2014

Sophia Dorothy Gagen, 95, passed away at the Milford Center in Milford Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Sophie was born on her family's farm in Cutchogue, Long Island, N.Y. February 18, 1919, the eighth of 10 children of the late John and Anna Alec, immigrants from Russia and Poland. Sophie graduated from Southold High School on Long Island in 1937. She was a star forward and captain of the girls basketball team. She then graduated from Southold Business Academy and became a bookkeeper for Eastern Oil Distributor Co.

In 1940, she married Eugene Gagen, a potato farmer from Southold, and raised her family on their family farm. During her early marriage, Sophie was one of the first computer operators at IBM. She became a full time homemaker with the birth of their children. In 1957, Sophie and family moved to Dover to their newly purchased potato farm and set up their business, Del Best Potatoes, where she acted as bookkeeper. She also attended classes at Wesley College, owned and managed several properties in Rehoboth and Lewes most of her life, and was a volunteer at Holy Cross Church and School.

Sophie was an avid golfer. She started as a teenage caddy on Long Island and played into her mid-80s. She was ladies champion at Maple Dale Country Club in 1969, and at Shawnee Country Club, she hit her first and only hole in one at the age of 75. Sophie was artistic, as evidenced by her paintings, floral arrangements and the design and decorating of her various homes. In 1980, she and Gene moved to Milford, where she stayed involved in golf, bridge, babysitting her grandchildren, volunteering at Milford Hospital, and mentoring at LuLu Ross Elementary School in Milford.

In addition to her parents, Sophie was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years, Eugene Gagen in 1988; her second husband of three years, Curt Callahan in 2001; six brothers and three sisters. Sophie is survived by her three daughters, Donna Cianciulli (Robert) of Flagler Beach, Fla., Joyce Horgan of Wilmington and Sheila Blakely of Milford; four grandchildren, Tara Blakely Boos (Charlie), Kenny Blakely, Mike Cianciulli and Matt Cianciulli; and two great-grandchildren, Gavin and Eva Boos.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of both Heritage at Milford, where Sophie was a resident for five years, and the Milford Center for her end of life care.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Monday, July 28, at St. John's Catholic Church, 506 Seabury Ave., Milford, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Burial will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions to St. John's Catholic Church Building Fund, 506 Seabury Ave., Milford, DE, 19963, or the Food Bank of DE, 1041 Mattlind Way, Milford. Arrangements handled by Rogers Funeral Home, Milford.